Tag Archives: Malawi

A Regular Beach Vacation at Chatimba Beach

Beach Warning

Perhaps the author should have stayed in school as well.

A rest day in Mbeya, than a half day of racing to lunch and non-racing for a day and a half to another rest day in Chatimba Beach, an isolated little resort on Lake Malwai.

The casual riding without concern for the race was nice for a mental break. I took some photos, stopped at coke stops, and often at beer stops toward the end of the ride. Talked and rode with some other riders or sometimes just pedaled away on my own.

Chatimba beach is one of those little corners that seems like it is rarely visited by more than a few people. Beautiful beach, warm water and no development or signs of other buildings. Despite warnings from my doctor about swimming in fresh water in Africa, I couldn’t resist the lake on this hot humid day.

This was one of the few days in the trip that felt like a bit of a typical vacation. A beach, a bar, volleyball, swimming, a bonfire at night, the tour takes a break from the forward push toward Capetown.



The beach

Nice view from the beach of Lake Malawi


Beach View

And another obligaotry beach photo

Tanzania, New Roads, Bad Roads, and Coffee

Tanzania Climb

Some of my limited company climbing to the highest point in Tanzania

Following Arusha, I struggled with the race. We were treated to some greatly improved conditions over previous years as many days that were previously gravel and rocks have been paved in the past year. Some of it not yet open to traffic and I would weave through piles of road material and poly road coverings.

Eventually we did hit the dirt. I was feeling a bit stronger, only to encounter another TDA plague: Crashes. 10K into a mandatory racing day, another rider switched trenches through the sand and crashes directly into me. I’m swearing up a storm, he hops on his bike, rides off and goes to the front and pushes the pace. I chase the leaders for 25K , just get back on , and blow up from the effort. Riding solo, I crash again on a descent with a stream bed/trench at the bottom that I attempt to jump, a new batch of road rash and SRAM shifters that are starting to look the worse for the wear.

Electrical tape is now holding my right shifter shroud on. That day was followed by one more mandatory day to Mbeya and rest. 2 days of mandatory racing were a bit too much still for me and i fell off the pace early to solo through one of the toughest and most picturesque climbs of the tour. Still all gravel and sand, we wound our way to the highest point in Tanzania. The descent was another matter, terrifying. Such a rough road that it was difficult to control, steep so speed could easily get out of control, and exhaustion from racing made for a harrowing descent. I rode the brakes like a first time bike rider. My fingers blistered from holding on and maintaining some control through the length of ride, hoping all the way that the promised pavement is just around the next corner.

In Mbeya, after debating whether it was worth the hassle, Alan and I grabbed a cab to Utengele Coffee Lodge about 20K away from town. It turned out to be a excellent choice, great bed to try and recover a bit more, a beautiful mountainside view, and some good coffee. Ice cream after every dinner was standard.